201: Learning experiences

(A bug’s eye view of the tiny white flowers dotting our lawn.)

M and I have been talking about taking a walking tour vacation.  Someday.  We’ve done a little research and thought about different places.  Places we’ve considered include (but are not limited to) the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in the U.K., and Nova Scotia in Canada.  (Note:  I’ve provided links to give you an idea of what I’m going on about, not as a recommendation for any particular tour.  I googled, these came up, and I picked them as examples.  We haven’t gone so far as to pick a touring company.)

Last year's oak leaves still clinging to the tree

Our 5.1 mile hike on Sunday taught me a valuable lesson.  I am not in the kind of shape I need to be in to take a walking tour type of vacation.  5.1 miles was pretty much my limit for the day, and you need to be able to walk anywhere from 8-12 miles per day according to some of the tour packages I’ve looked at.

Letting go and floating away

That said, I’m not in bad shape, per se.  I was able to walk the 5.1 miles.  I just didn’t do anything else for the rest of the day because all I could do was collapse in exhaustion.  I did not attempt it but I don’t believe I would have been able to walk another 5.1 miles (or more) the following day (yesterday).

Hanging around

To dream about taking a walking tour is one thing.  To actually do it will require planning and setting goals.  One of those goals is to get myself in shape and capable of walking 8-12 miles a day.


So, one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, I am going to work on building up my mileage.  Now that the weather is warming up to some degree (hey, it’s not below freezing or snowing), I should be able to get outside and explore the area where I live.  The block I live on is a country block, meaning it’s a BIG block.  A 5-mile loop.  That’s a good start.  From there I can venture off on other back country roads, past farms with cows, horses, and fields of crops stretched out for as far as the eye can see.

Great Blue Heron exploring the pond at sunset

I will be taking a walking tour of my own backyard, so to speak.  Branching out to explore beyond the small area I’ve been covering on my walks.  I think it will be fun, for the most part, and I will get to learn a bit more about where I live by not speeding by everything in a car.

Now all I have to do is decide between my hiking boots and my Vibrams.  I’m thinking the Vibrams would be ideal for walking around here, but I do need to break in those boots a little better.  Alternating might be the way to go.

Yesterday's sunset

I did not get off to a great start today, having gone only a little over 3 miles.  It’s raining and in the 40’s, not a good combination.  I got chilled and decided that even though it isn’t a great start, it’s a start.  And there is something to be said for that.

Maple blossoms

It wasn’t just the gray, gloomy, chilly weather that drove me back inside.  I sometimes wonder if I’m cut out for exploring the great outdoors.  There are days when I’m too… soft.  I’m not sure that’s the word I want, but I can’t come up with anything better at the moment.

At lunch today I saw the doves cuddled up near the bird feeder, and wondered why one of them wasn’t back at the nest.  Well, on my walk today I decided to stop by and check on the Mama Dove.  The nest was gone from the tree.  I looked at the ground and found it there, shredded to pieces.  On the other side of the tree I found the babies.

There was no movement at all.  I’m fairly certain they are dead.  I realize this is part of nature and the circle of life and all that.  It’s a bit of an emotional day for me anyhow (having begun the day with an oddly emotional yoga and meditation practice).  I cried for a little while, sad that the babies didn’t make it.

A white daffodil, softness and light

Ah well.  The doves are probably already building a new nest and starting over.

Life goes on.

27 Comments on “201: Learning experiences”

  1. Karma says:

    Aw, poor doves. I would’ve cried a bit too had I been the one to find what you found.
    The purple sunset reflected in the pond is lovely.

  2. This is a great post. Setting a goal for walking is good–beneficial for you and the camera! I’ve always considered one of those walking tour vacations also. I’ll save that for retirement next year. Sad with the birds–yeah, the cycle of life but sad just the same.

  3. How sad about the birds, Robin! Makes me want to cry just looking at the photo! But congrats to you on your 3 miles today!

  4. Christina says:

    A walking tour sounds amazing – BUT – it also sounds like you would need to train for it almost as I did for the Breast Cancer 3Day events 🙂 Yep, it’s one thing to bust out a nice long hike, but then you gotta get up and do it again, & again. The Step challenge my company is doing has gotten me back into that kind of walking shape again, but it took a few weeks. You can do it – and I am sure warmer temps will help keep you moving 🙂

  5. Bo Mackison says:

    It seems today is the day for blog posts about goals. I think your plan of walking in your “big” backyard is excellent. Your camera (and you) will get a work out!

  6. Love all these shots, Robin, they’re so ethereally beautiful. Number 1, 5 and the last one are my favorites. You’ll have to share your post-processing secrets one of these days, I want to know how you achieve such a soft look!

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, SunsetSeaSoul. 🙂

      I really don’t have any secrets, but I’ll see what I can do about writing up a post in which I try to explain what I do.

  7. lynnekovan says:

    Lovely pictures, this is such a gorgeous time of year. I have walked the Pembrokeshire Coastal path, and would highly recommend it. It’s tough going in parts as there’s a lot of ups and downs, but the scenery is stunning! The only problem is the unpredictable weather, but, as long as you take every form of water/sun proof garment, you’ll be fine. Nova Scotia is also wonderful. I plan top retire there later this year. Lots of lovely choices ahead for you!

  8. Poor doves 😦
    Those white flowers in your yard are so pretty!
    I think that walking vacation is a great idea, and you’re doing great, getting yourself in shape for it. Some days you will walk less, and some days you will walk more, and that’s perfectly OK (some days I don’t even walk at all!)

  9. CMSmith says:

    You have so many things I could comment on in this post. So sad about the baby birds. You’re right about nature, though.

    I have a friend who did a walking tour vacation. It sounded like loads of fun. I will probably never be able to because of not only my, but also Mark’s arthritis.

    Getting old stinks.

    • Robin says:

      I have arthritis too, Christine. I’ve found the best thing I can do for it (and for me) is to keep moving in some form. Some days are easier than others, though.

  10. CMSmith says:

    I forgot to say, great shot of the blue heron. Lovely graceful bird. A painter we had at our house shortly after we moved in said he saw one down by our creek, but I haven’t yet. I probably won’t have my camera ready if I do. . .

  11. Every little bit counts! And Im sorry about the doves.

  12. Barbara Rodgers says:

    I’d love to have that bug’s eye view! What a handsome Great Blue Heron! The circle of life is so sad at times… Poor little doves…

    I used to walk 3 miles a day until my walking buddy moved away. I miss it terribly… But like you, I think a walking vacation sounds ideal! I hope you get to go!

    • Robin says:

      All you have to do, Barbara, is lie down on the grass and the bug’s eye view is all yours. 🙂 Never mind that the ground is still boggy and muddy and just plain wet. That’s what work clothes are for.

  13. Dena says:

    I love the pictures. You are an amazing photographer.
    I also feel sad for the babies. Tugs at my heart.

  14. Marianne says:

    Congratulations to you for walking 5.1 miles. That’s excellent, Robin.

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